Before we get going and I show you why my toungue is hanging out of my head like a happy dog, lets first see what a couple of vanilla images look like at f/2.8 and f/8. All of the images I've included here are SOOC JPEG at Fine Resolution / Maximum size.
|f2.8 focussed on the washer|
|f/8 focussed on the washer|
First up, lets turn the feature on. It's buried quite deep in menus and since I'll probably use this a lot I'll try and figure out how to put this on one of the plethora of function buttons.
|Open Shooting Menu using the Menu button then scrolling, turn on Bracketting|
|Select focus bracketting|
|and turn it on|
|Turn on focus stacking from within Focus bracketting|
|set the depth you want to have - i.e. the depth of field you want|
Differential of 1The camera exposed two shots at slightly different focus steps and produced this final stacked shot. It has more depth of field than the f/8 shot but not much.
|Focus differential of 1|
Differential of 5
The camera exposed six frames and produced this final stacked shot. This is quite a bit better than the f/8 result.
Differential of 10
This time the camera exposed fifteen shots and what an amazing outcome. This is about 1.5cm of depth from a macro where you normally get about half of one mm.
It goes backward!
One thing I note is that the focus seems to assume you want to go backwards and steps away from the camera, this might be because I focussed as near as I could to the lens and it had no choice. I'll have to experiment more. When I read "bracketting" I assume it will by default go equally forwards and backwards by default. This is certainly workable and needs some more play.
When you're using 10 you might notice some focus banding with softer areas. I do see one softer area on top of the washer.
I really wish that the camera would use a different name for the final stacked image or have something in the metadata. If you're listing Olympus this would be an great improvement on this otherwise awesome feature. This will help you find them without having to review them all.
The Focus Stacking feature is only available on the OM-D EM-1 although the focus bracketing is available on its little brother the OM-D EM-5. You then need to manually stack in your tool of choice afterwards if you're shooting with the EM-5.
The feature only works (currently) with three lenses:
- Olympus 60mm Macro f/2.8
- Olympus 12-40 f/2.8
- Olympus 40-150 f/2.8 (also works with the teleconverter on)
While the images used to make the stack are all recorded as per your current settings, the final stacked image is only available as a JPEG regardless of other settings.
This is an awesome feature and is just the next step in enjoying this camera. This few second task in camera from a touch of setup and one finger button press replaces literally hours of work in photoshop. The focus banding is slightly annoying because when doing it manually this wouldn't happen but I reckon I prefer this being essentially lazy I find that this feature is going to go the distance with me.